So I have upgraded to Yosemite and DragonDictate seems to be working so far. I was a little bit dubious about whether I should do the upgrade or not and this was based totally upon whether DragonDictate would work within the new OS X operating system. It is this speech to text application that I use on a daily basis that has to work for me, otherwise I would just never get any work done at all. I’m using it now within the DragonDictate window and next will be trying it out on other applications also. I usually find that it works well when I am dictating into my journalling application called Day One. When I’m dictating into Chrome I sometimes find that the application has a little bit of a problem. What it does, is to add a random letter to the end of the text and it will stay there until I delete it. The actual dictation works more or less the same as it does when I’m using it within the DragonDictate window. It is only a small annoyance to have that letter added to the end of my text during the dictation process.
What do I think of Yosemite so far?
The first impressions is that it is quite clean looking. I can’t say much more than that as I haven’t yet tried out any of the new options available within the new operating system. I know that I won’t be able to try the Handoff feature until I get my hands on a Bluetooth dongle. Rocketek USB Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy USB Adapter – Mac OS, Classic Bluetooth and Stereo Headset Compatible usb 4.0 dongle is the one I will give a try.
The Bluetooth has to be the Bluetooth 4 low-energy and it is just not on the older models of the Mac. My iMac is three years old and so I will have to try the dongle in order to use Hand Off.
Should I use iCloud drive?
I was a little bit hesitant during the installation process as to whether I should start using iCloud Drive. This was because it was advised that we shouldn’t use it when upgrading to iOS 8. I think it should be okay now and so I will go for it and see what happens. I got my hands on the free app Cloud Drive Explorer so that I could see inside iCloud Drive on my iOS devices. I thought I could drop a file into the iCloud folder and it would show up on the iOS devices in some place I could use it. I was trying all sorts of ways to move a file from the Mac in Byword to iOS via iCloud Drive. In the end I dragged it to the TextEdit folder and used the third party app to open it and sent to Byword. I wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be.I suppose it takes time to practice and perfect the way of doing it. I did make it work but I could create a folder in iCloud Drive on the Mac.
Well it all went okay so far, although on the iPhone 6 it did do a reboot during upgrading to iCloud Drive. I will have to do a little bit of reading or maybe some watching of videos to see exactly how iCloud Drive works so that I can get the best from the new facilities. I have already opted for the €0.99 per month to get the 20 GB of storage. It seems like a good plan to see how that goes and see if I need more, before I upgrade to the next level 200GB which is only €3.99 per month.
iCloud Drive Folder
The iCloud Drive folder works just like any other folder in OS X. You are able to drag and drop to add files, organise things with folders and with tags, as well as being able to search it using Spotlight. It is going to be handy that we will be able to access all of the latest versions of our files from all computing devices including the iPad and iPhone. It seems the way that it works is that files in iCloud Drive will be available on the Mac even when you don’t have an Internet connection. Not having an Internet connection on my iMac doesn’t happen very often, but if it does any changes that I make to a file will be sent automatically as soon as my Mac goes back online.
As I said, I am breathing a sigh of relief that I’m able to use DragonDictate on my iMac. I suppose it was to be expected that one of the incompatible applications would be GPG Mail. It could take quite some time before this is upgraded and it’s compatible with Yosemite. I do have the ability to use S/Mime certificates so that I can still use email encryption. Even so, I will be looking forward to the day when GPG mail is brought up to date. I could look at Thunderbird email client again.
Another application that was deemed incompatible was the Kindle app. This is no big deal as I don’t tend to read Kindle books on my iMac very often. The Kindle application is useful if I want to do a check of one of my own books that I’m working on. I don’t suppose it will take too long before this will be sorted out.
The only other application that isn’t working is the pen tablet preferences pane. This is for a Wacom Bamboo tablet and seeing I don’t use it very often I’m not too worried about it. These three pieces of software were moved into a separate folder on my boot drive called Incompatible Software.
New things in the Messages app
I will be able to send and receive SMS messages from within Messages on my iMac. I usually tend to use this application when I want to make contact with my mother who is using an iPad Mini. I could see that it could be quite handy to have messages coming in through SMS directly and have them available on my Mac. As I have already seen on my Messages application on my iPad and iPhone, it is now possible to send soundbites. This is a quick audio message that you can record and send to your friends as an audio clip. The person receiving the audio clip is able to decide whether they want to keep it or not, otherwise it vanishes after two minutes.
Making calls with the iPhone is possible from messages on the iMac. I don’t make many phone calls, but I will have to give this a try. It seems that all you need to do is to click on a phone number in Messages and that will make the call for you through your iPhone. I think this still works even if the phone is in another room, although I expect it needs to be within distance to work over a wireless signal, probably Bluetooth but possibly Wi-Fi.
Screen Sharing though Messages
On the Yosemite page on the Apple website it says that it’s now possible to do screen sharing through Messages. I did think that this was possible before, but who knows. I will give it a try and see how screen sharing works anyway. This could be handy when I’m trying to show some people how to do things with their Mac.
Improvements with Spotlight
I am a user of the Alfred application and I am fairly sure that I will continue to use Alfred to do my searches and use as an app launcher. I will do some testing of the new ways of working with Spotlight search and see how that goes aswell. I can get into Spotlight by doing a Control Option Space keyboard shortcut. I like the way that in the system preferences you can choose how you want your Spotlight results to appear. The default is to have the Applications first followed by Spotlight Suggestions and then Conversion and so on. It is easy to drag the categories up and down to change the results. So if you wanted to see the results earlier in spotlight from your mail and messages which at the moment are at position 12 on the list you could just move them up to whichever number position.
More Yosemite information to come.